Standing Start

Standing Start


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Like 2006’s Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Standing Start is all about putting you in the moment with a sportsman, feeling the adrenaline and watching his response.

The sportsman in question here is world champion Scots track cyclist Craig MacLean. We watch, straining and tensing along with him as he prepares for a big race. The footage - apparently whittled down by directors Finlay Pretsell and Adrian McDowell from some 20 hours to the 15 minutes on display - is as finally honed as MacLean’s body and matched in emotion by the evocative voice-over and music. For the words don’t tell of MacLean the cyclist, but rather, MacLean the fighter, readying himself for battle in the fashion of a mythological hero.

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Lanarkshire author Des Dillon has adapted the myth of Odysseus with an aplomb and his words are lent plenty of weight by narrator Iain Agnew. The ancient story perfectly fits the modern day gladiatorial arena of the velodrome. Equally impressive is the original music by Matthew Aldworth which complements both the voice-over and the trackside whirr of the wheels, making the audience strain and stretch with MacLean as he prepares to win - or die trying.

Like a complex jigsaw, each piece slots into place perfectly, completing a richly detailed picture of one man and his determination. If your heart doesn’t start to pound faster as the race sets off, it’s quite possible you don’t have one.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2007
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Documenting world champion Craig MacLean's preparation for a cycle race.

Director: Finlay Pretsell, Adrian McDowall

Writer: Des Dillon

Starring: Craig MacLean

Year: 2007

Runtime: 15 minutes

Country: UK


Doc/Fest 2008
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